Introduction – Trespass to the person
Trespass to the person means the wrongful invasion of the person right to freedom from interference with his body or his right to personal liberty. This is in contrast to trespass to land that involves the wrongful invasion of others premises.
In modern times, trespass to the person has been replaced by three separate torts of:-
- False Imprisonment
Here, we will be dealing with two of the above mentioned torts that is assault and battery.
n assault is an act which intentionally causes another person to apprehend the infliction of immediate, unlawful force on his person.
It was said in R v. Meade and Belt 1823 that no words or signing are equivalent to an assault. However, the House of Lords have more recently stated that an assault can be committed by the court of appeal in R v. Constanza.
It is much more authoritative that words will not constitute an assault if they are phrased in such a way that negatives any threat that the defendant is making.
Case- Stephens v. Myers (1830) 172 ER 684 – The plaintiff must have reasonably expected an immediate battery. Thus in Stephens v. Myers, the defendant made a violent gesture at the plaintiff by waiving a clenched fist but was prevented from reaching him by the intervention of third parties. The defendant was liable for assault.
A battery is the actual intentional infliction of unlawful force on another person. It was stated in Cole v. Turner (1704), the least touching of another in anger is battery. However, such a widely drawn principle must inevitably be subject to exceptions.
Collins v. Wilcock – Controversially the court of appeal said that there must be a hostile touching.
Is hostility a necessary element of battery?
Lord Goff said he doubted whether it is correct to say that the touching must be hostile, and further, the suggested qualification is difficult to reconcile with the principle that any touching of another’s body is in the absence of lawful excuse, capable of amounting to a battery and trespass. However, if a person does not inflict injury intentionally, but only unintentionally, the claimant only has claim in negligence.
The defendants act must cause direct damage. Case- Scott v. Shepherd (1773) 2 B1 R892.
Submitted By- Prerana Anand
(Editor @ Legal Bites)